Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Figure 1. Humans and Virtual beings as collab-
orative fully equal partners
positively influence outcomes in a collaborative
group situation.
The nature of an independent virtual being
participating alongside humans collaboratively
in computer games is strongly influenced by the
notion of intelligent autonomous agents in com-
puter game theory. The concept of an intelligent
autonomous agent as described by Jennings and
Wooldridge (Jennings & Wooldridge, 1995) is
appropriate for application to the characteristics
of human and virtual beings that engage collab-
oratively as equal participants in computer games.
An intelligent autonomous agent, being situated
within a collaborative computer game enjoys the
following abilities:
and collaborate within a computer game setting,
while having their own internal goals (that is, the
ability to play a game as a human would), then
these games would have an increased perception
of realism and “life” as the interactions between
human and virtual beings is not static, scripted or
based upon the scenario at hand, but rather changes
as these beings interact and collaborate with each
other over time to affect change upon the game
world that they are situated within.
To this end, human and virtual beings can
be considered fully equal partners (FEPs) that
collaborate to achieve a set of shared goals or
outcomes (Figure 1). We consider this concept
as complementary to other concepts that use
autonomous agents as either opponents (Laird,
2001) or as interactive story characters (Magerko,
Laird, Assanie, & Stokes, 2004). Unlike the FEPs,
non-player virtual characters are typically able
to interact with (or provide simple assistance
to) the human players, but do not participate as
intelligent collaborative entities, equal in ability
to a human being.
Humans and virtual beings interacting col-
laboratively in computer games as fully equal
partners enjoy the following attributes:
1. Is Autonomous; operating without the direct
intervention of humans or other entities,
having control over its internal state.
2. Situated in and aware of its environment (the
game) and is able to interact with this envi-
ronment through their sensors and effectors.
3. Have some kind of Social Ability; interacting
with other human and virtual beings via the
use of a communication language.
4. Is able to perceive changes within the (game)
environment and React to these changes in
a timely fashion.
5. Is Proactive; being able to exhibit goal-
directed behavior (taking the initiative) and
directly affecting the game and other entities
in order to achieve these goals.
There have been many instances in the past
where virtual players have participated in com-
puter games as a human would (Laird, 2001). In
these instances, the virtual player has typically
participated as an opponent. In addition, there
are many games where simple virtual players
have worked as part of a human player's “team”
where they interact with these entities through
simple commands.
Building upon these principles, we consider
that if virtual players were able to participate
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